When I Was In Elementary School
Last night I had a dream that took me back to elementary school. The dream was pretty vague but it left me with one of the difficulties that I had growing up in that era which probably still exists in this era. The dream recalled memories of some students who were not extremely intelligent, had questionable home lives, and then who were able to start using power in a negative way. Now my earliest memory of this happening was from grade one which would correspond with the time period that Piaget called the 5-7 shift.
It seems to me that the misuse of power that exists in the world may have a lot to do with this critical time period from kindergarten to grade 2 where we begin to think in multiple dimensions. A lot of people who misuse power don’t seem to be able to think on more than one dimension at the same time. By the time you reach grade 2 most people can hold a thought like a child being a boy like every other boy and also being from a particular culture which may be different than one’s own culture. They can hold both thoughts at the same time. This allows them to be different from each other and alike, but a person who is having difficulty with this process, usually sees the differences and not the sameness.
So what seems to happen is that they don’t do that well in school because of difficulties in perception and then they begin to go for power by forming cliques and being bullies all based upon finding things to maintain thinking in one dimension rather than two. Healthy children who don’t have attachment issues, seem to be able to see the power issues for what they are and avoid becoming part of cliques and bully groups, but there seems to be quite a number of young people whose minds are just consolidating the shift who are vulnerable to cliques.
If you watch kindergarten children on a playground, you can see a lot of the difficulties. All a child has to do is say to another, “I am not your friend anymore,” and then it creates a really bad dynamic. At age 5 some children are already practicing exclusion and power mongering in a sophisticated fashion. Attachment and friendship is a child’s number one goal. The thing that they are most concerned about is whether or not they will have other people to relate to. They are not concerned about learning. They are concerned about relationships.
So along comes someone who is good at using power at a very young age spreading exclusion and cliqueness because their attachment problems are pretty great. Children naturally become fearful of being excluded so they can fall prey to the power mongers manipulations. Instead of focusing on learning and developing new abilities and having goals for themselves, many children get locked into exclusive behavior.
Anyway, the dream helped me recall the dynamic of my childhood, which was, on the one hand, really wanting to get better at what I was doing, and on the other, being weary and fearful of the not-so-intelligent excluders. The ironic thing seems to me that when I was going for really striving to get better at something is when I had the best relationships, but when I focused on the exclusion dynamic, I became timid.
So this makes me think that if we can help children hold out images of getting better and really striving for goals that are worthwhile, that they will be able to attract better relationships. When I was growing the most is when I felt the best and that seems to be when I had the best friendships, but when I wasn’t growing and instead focusing on relationships with peers is when I became the most fearful.
So I think that I am going to really work on growth and accomplishing goals now.